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11/15 open thread and some SCOTUS news

Transgender Rights

– The Supreme Court is being asked to hear a case about a state health care plan’s decision to exclude gender dysphoria treatment. The issue in the case involves sovereign immunity, but the underlying facts relate to the exclusion of treatment from the plan.

– This morning, the Court issued orders from last week’s conference, and there’s still been no action in the Arlene’s Flowers rehearing petition.

This is an open thread. We’ll post any breaking news.


  • 1. VIRick  |  November 15, 2021 at 1:22 pm

    Texas: Beto O'Rourke to Run against Anti-LGBTQ Extremist Abbott for Governor

    Today, 15 November 2021, LGBTQ ally and former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) has announced that he’s running for governor of Texas, challenging anti-LGBTQ extremist and current governor, Greg Abbott (R).

    “Together, we can push past the small and divisive politics that we see in Texas today — and get back to the big, bold vision that used to define Texas,” he tweeted earlier today with a video announcing his gubernatorial run. “A Texas big enough for all of us.”

    The video focuses on Texas’s electrical grid and the winter storm earlier this year that left much of the state without power or heating.

    “When the electricity grid failed – and those in power failed all of us – it was the people of Texas who were willing to put their differences behind them and get to work doing the job at hand,” O’Rourke said. “We did this out of a sense of duty and responsibility to one another. Now imagine if the governor of Texas felt that same way.”

  • 2. VIRick  |  November 15, 2021 at 6:50 pm

    Pete Buttigieg: Most Powerful Transportation Secretary Ever

    The $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill, signed into law today, 15 November 2021, marks a new phase in Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg's political career and his most significant accomplishment in public life so far. Over the next 5 years, he will now command $210 billion in discretionary grants.

  • 3. ianbirmingham  |  November 15, 2021 at 8:13 pm

    Florida politician calls police over LGBTQ book in school library

    A Flagler County School Board member filed a criminal complaint with her county's sheriff's office last week after discovering that a memoir about a queer writer was available in area schools.

    Jill Woolbright took offense at the book All Boys Aren't Blue:A Memoir-Manifesto being available at Palm Coast High School, Mantanzas High School and Buddy Taylor Middle School.

    The book is not the first memoir on growing up queer that has run afoul of Florida school boards. Brevard and Orange County both removed a graphic novel on the subject from their libraries earlier this year.

  • 4. Randolph_Finder  |  November 16, 2021 at 8:14 am

    Honestly for this one, they might be able to get it pulled, at least at the middle school. The objection here at least (on the surface) isn't that two males are performing the acts, it is the fact that the acts are described. The question is whether there are books with the equivalent level of description of these acts (or vaginal intercourse) elsewhere in the particular school libraries.

  • 5. ianbirmingham  |  November 16, 2021 at 10:03 am

    There are. Both middle school and high school students routinely receive sex education at every grade level, and the textbooks involved do indeed describe these activities.

  • 6. Randolph_Finder  |  November 16, 2021 at 10:15 am

    *May* depend on what is in the Sex ed curriculum for grade 6 (since they are able to check the book out) and whether the limitations on the library in that regard are the same as the textbooks. Don't think it is a *high* likelihood, but possible.

    As for the High Schools, forget it.

  • 7. VIRick  |  November 16, 2021 at 8:11 pm

    Tuxpan: Everyone Is Waiting/Anticipating Marriage Equality in Veracruz State

    Per "Noreste:"

    De un momento a otro, podría quedar plasmado en los libros de casamientos que alberga la oficina de registro civil, los nombres de quienes unirán sus vidas y podrían pasar a la historia como el primer matrimonio igualitario en Tuxpan.

    From one moment to the next, the names of those who will unite their lives, and would thus pass into history as being the first equal marriage in Tuxpan, are waiting to be reflected in the marriage books housed at the civil registry office.

    According to the Civil Registrar of Tuxpan, Jordi Maya Hernández, she has already received five applications for marriage from same-sex couples, 2 from male couples, and 3 from female. But so far, none have actually married. Or more accurately, none have "civil unioned." Instead, they have pro-actively gotten all their paperwork submitted in advance, while waiting for the soon-to-be-issued Supreme Court ruling to be handed down. In an "Action of Unconstitutionality" decision, as this one is, the ruling comes into force instantly, from the very day it has been issued.

    Tuxpan is the largest coastal city in the northern part of Veracruz state.

  • 8. ianbirmingham  |  November 17, 2021 at 9:14 am

    Thailand: Obergefell won't happen here – Constitutional Court unanimously vetoes SSM lawsuit, kicking the issue over to Thailand's legislature

    Same-sex marriage in Thailand will have to wait, as the Constitutional Court ruled unanimously today (Wednesday [November 17th, 2021]) that Section 1448 of the Civil and Commercial Code, defining marriage as being a union between a man and a woman, is constitutional.

    The court did, however, suggest that parliament, the government and relevant state agencies should enact a law to codify the rights of the LGBT community.

  • 9. ianbirmingham  |  November 17, 2021 at 9:19 am

    Thailand: Court decision to push back marriage equality ruling goes viral, prompts criticism

    The Constitutional Court on Tuesday [September 28th, 2021] said it would move its ruling on marriage equality to December prompting a viral hashtag and online criticism.

    The ruling has been postponed multiple times by the Constitutional Court since it was due to make a decision on the case in 2017.

    While the majority of parliament, including those on both sides of the aisle, support marriage equality, the court has so far been unwilling to rule in favour of same-sex marriage.

    Its latest decision to postpone its ruling has sparked a viral hashtag which as of Wednesday morning has been mentioned at least half a million times.

    The hashtag #สมรสเท่าเทียม (marriage equality) was used to criticize the Constitutional Court for being out of touch and for shedding light on why marriage equality was important.

    In 2015, Thailand enacted the landmark Gender Equality Act that made gender-based discrimination illegal.

    Over five years since the bill has become effective, it is still struggling to find its feet. According to a 2020 UNDP study, authorities have never punished any entities using this particular law – even in the face of growing cases of gender discrimination directed at LGBTQI individuals.

    The Act also has an exceedingly limited scope, one that falls short of anything close to ‘gender equality.’ In fact, the Act is primarily focused on “gender discrimination,” something it defines as “dividing, obstructing or limiting any direct or indirect privilege without fairness” on the grounds of gender.

    It is focused on negative rights – the right to be free of discrimination – rather than any positive rights such as the LGBTQI right to civil partnership or marriage.

  • 10. VIRick  |  November 17, 2021 at 9:57 am

    Switzerland: Official Timetable for Marriage Equality Implementation

    Per LGBT Marriage News and Janny Barrera de Ginebra:

    On 17 November 2021, the Swiss government executive (El Consejo Federal) announced plans to begin recognizing foreign LGBT marriages starting from 1 January 2022. No new registered partnerships (uniones civiles) will be allowed to occur within Switzerland after 30 June 2022. Instead, same-sex couples will be able to begin marrying (matrimonio para todos/mariage pour tous) from the following date, 1 July 2022. Those who are already in registered partnerships (uniones civiles) from 2007, and onward, will be allowed to maintain them.

    So, if a Swiss same-sex couples has an urgent legal need to obtain official Swiss recognition of their marriage, they should immediately marry abroad (France or Belgium will do), and thus instantly obtain the 6-month jump-start in official recognition, come 1 January 2022.

    Chile will not be able to overcome this 6-month jump-start process in Swiss recognition of foreign marriages, meaning, at least in this sense, that Switzerland will win the snail-paced race between the two.

  • 11. ianbirmingham  |  November 17, 2021 at 12:10 pm

    Furry horned helmet-wearing, spear-toting, howling Trumpanzee gets 41 months in prison

    Jacob Chansley, the self-described "QAnon Shaman" who infamously marched through the U.S. Capitol with a spear and horned helmet during the Jan. 6 riot, was sentenced Wednesday to 41 months in prison for his role in the attack.

    It matches the longest sentence handed down to any Jan. 6 participant, following the 41-month sentence handed down last week to Scott Fairlam, a former mixed martial arts fighter who pleaded guilty to assaulting a police officer during the riot.

  • 12. ianbirmingham  |  November 18, 2021 at 7:24 pm

    Texas: Austin Trucks Roll Down Streets With Messages On Their Sides Supporting Trans Lives

    After a year of nonstop assaults on trans rights in Texas, allies and activists took to the streets this week in Austin — literally — to declare that trans lives matter.

    Trucks, on behalf of the online trans and queer health platform Folx Health, drove around the state capital during Trans Awareness Week displaying messages on their sides including “protect trans youth” and “trans lives are precious.”

    In a post on Instagram, Folx Health shared that during Trans Awareness Week, it wanted to send a message loud and clear to the capitol, but that also “awareness” is only the beginning.

    “We need to go beyond awareness. Most people are ‘aware’ that trans people exist. We must take action and continue to fight for our trans family. We must #ProtectTransYouth,” the platform wrote, explaining why the need for this message is so dire. “This year, the right-wing legislature has introduced over 100 anti-trans bills in the US. Texas most recently banned trans youth from playing sports with their peers, continuing the assault on trans liberation. This #TransAwarenessWeek and every week of the year, we proclaim our ongoing love, adoration, support, solidarity, and celebration of our trans community amid ongoing attacks from lawmakers.”

    Over the past year, Republican lawmakers have been systematically targeting trans rights. They successfully passed a law banning transgender students from playing school sports — a move that Folx Health called part of an “assault on trans liberation.” They also put forward bills that would classify gender-affirmation surgery in minors as child abuse, and removed a web page from a state-run website that included information about a suicide prevention hotline for LGBTQ+ youth. Next up, they’re targeting LGBTQ+ books in schools.

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